Although Sony has remained in the headlines since last year with the release of the PlayStation 4 (PS4), American fans of popular games based on anime and manga have kept the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Vita platforms as relevant as ever. Banking on the exponentially growing American Otaku market, game developers are exporting games for the Sony PS3 and Vita on the strength of the “fun factor,” and the obsession of these enthusiasts. There is a growing number of young Otaku gamers who are opting to purchase these older platforms now to enjoy the anime-based offerings coming out, while waiting for a larger volume of exclusive games for the PS4 to purchase the latest system.
The popular anime, Sword Art Online, recently had a game adaptation release in Japan, which has been confirmed to be coming to North America. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is a PS Vita sequel to last year’s Japanese exclusive Infinity Moment for the PSP. The game is a RPG taking place in an alternate universe from the light novel and anime series about a future where there are devices that let you live the games you play. It will release as a “download only” game in North America this summer. Sword Art Online was originally a series of light novels released in Japan which later received an anime adaptation in 2012 and is receiving a second adaptation this summer.
The worlds most “fabulous” fighting game is making its way to America this Tuesday with its trademark poses and style. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is a 2.5-D fighting game for the PlayStation 3 based on the popular, now 27-year-old manga series about the “fabulous” adventures of the various members of the Joestar family tree. It has been released in Japan since August, and was released in Europe last Friday. The game will have a limited physical release available by ordering through the club Namco or Amazon websites, alongside a digital release.
The Naruto fighting game series has spawned more than just a few games, and shows no signs of stopping. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a 3D fighting game releasing this September on PS3 . It is based both on the original anime and manga series and its own storylines ,it tells back-stories previously untold with character designs done by the manga’s creator. It will have more than 100 playable characters, more than any previous entry, and a brand new 4 player tournament mode. It will also be released at the same time on XBox 360. One Piece is sailing its way back to North America for Sony on Vita, 3DS, and ps3 as Unlimited World Red. The 3DS version of the game released back in japan late last year, and will come to other consoles in July. Europe has a release date of July 27, and the North America release has been confirmed for July, but a date has not yet been confirmed. Unlimited World Red is an RPG game based on the wildly popular One Piece, however it follows an original story and does not follow the series canon. All 4 reviewers at the Japanese magazine, Famitsu, gave it 8 out of 10 for a total score of 32 out of 40 on their ranking score; a respectable score for a game not released on the newest console platform.
With the near elimination of backwards compatibility for the newest consoles, there is a point of diminishing returns for game developers to continue to export titles for the older Sony platforms, but there is still a movement of dedicated American anime fans who lobby for the release of title from the genre for Playstation 3 and Vita. One such is the J-Stars Victory Vs. title, which is a Japanese 3-D fighting game combining many popular manga series published in the weekly, Shonen Jump. A release outside of japan for the game is neither confirmed nor extremely likely with world-wide shipping available in just a couple of days. The game, according to a group of American Otaku test driving a recently acquired Japanese copy, gave it high marks. They described it as “extremely fun,” with a great roster of characters representing multiple anime franchises. Drawbacks described were the repetitious string of identical fights in story mode, and that it was difficult for some to learn without the translation from the Japanese. None of the objections were significant in light of the excellent game play, however. The fact that the game is region-free and is playable on all PS3 consoles is making it a wish-list item for American anime fans . It is a win-win situation for Sony, as the trend extends the viability of the older formats while the popularity of the PS4 continues to grow.
By Reuben Malone